FPD.com looks inside the Czech food industry

Related tags European union Czech republic

This Thursday we will be focusing on the opportunities and
challenges, the strengths and weaknesses of the Czech food
industry, with exclusive interviews and analysis, writes Anthony

FoodProductionDaily.com was in Prague last week to report from a country with one of the strongest economies of all the New Member states. In 2003 the Czech economy kept growing, with GDP increasing by 2.9 per cent year-on-year compared to 2.0 per cent year-on-year growth in 2002.

But while the growth of the Czech economy outstripped average GDP growth in the EU of 0.7 per cent, it was one of the slower growing economies within Central Europe. The fastest growing economy in the region was in fact the Slovak Republic at 4.2 per cent.

Nonetheless, those operating within the Czech industry believe that the sector is the best placed out of the New Member states to take advantage of the new opportunities a common market provides.

"I have meetings with my Hungarian, Polish and Slovakian counterparts and I know the situation in these countries,"​ Josef Sajdl, head of the Federation of the Food and Drink Industries of the Czech Republic's legislation department told us.

"We are at the top, because many of these sectors still have problems implementing EU regulations. For example one country recently completed a project after which 50 per cent of food companies were HAACP-compliant. In the Czech Republic, every firm was compliant prior to accession, or they were closed down."

The Ministry of Agriculture certainly believes that it has done much to ensure that the Czech food industry is internationally competitive. "Between 2002 and 2003 we invested around 0.5bn Czech crowns (€17m) in business incentives, and this support in turn generated 3bn in investments,"​ said the Ministry of Agriculture external communications head Hugo Roldan.

Many foreign firms now operate in the Czech Republic, while more and more are coming to find what opportunities are available. Danish ingredients firm Chr Hansen for example was in Prague with an innovative road show designed to show local manufacturers new products and ideas, and attempt to build on the company's presence in the country.

"These New Member countries are of great importance to us,"​ Chr Hansen project manager Ann Charlotte Bentzon told www.FoodProductionDaily.com. "And you need to be present, because things are changing so quickly."

There are challenges still to be faced, as Milena Vicenova, director of the M of A's Food Safety and Agriculture and Food Engineering Department told us.

"Now that all the institutions and regulations are in place, we are preparing a food safety to improve our activities. The system is there, but we want to make it work better. For example, the basic rules governing traceability are already in place but it has not totally settled down anywhere."

Click onto www.foodproductiondaily.com on Thursday to read more about the Czech food industry.

Related topics Processing & Packaging

Follow us


View more